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Jacqueline Stone
Princeton University (Princeton, NJ 08540-5228)

The Faces of Lotus Millennialism: Nichiren and Buddhist Nationalism in Modern Japan

Summer research and writing on East Asian History and Nonwestern Religion.

The Japanese Buddhist figure Nichiren (1222-1282) predicted that faith in the Lotus Sutra would one day spread outward from Japan and transform this world into an ideal Buddha land. From the latter nineteenth century through the immediate post-World War II era, activist clerics and lay leaders in the Nichiren Buddhist tradition appropriated these prophecies as full-blown millennial visions and mapped them onto shifts in Japan's international role. The project traces the emergence and successive transformations of "Lotus millennialism": as a doctrine suited to modernizing and nation-building in Japan's Meiji and Taisho eras (1868-1926); as a vision of Japan-led Buddhist pan-Asianism that legitimated militant imperialism in the 1930s and 40s; and as a blueprint for nuclear disarmament and "world peace" in the period of reconstruction following the Pacific War (1945-60). It examines the complex interplay of Buddhist and national identities and the modern appeal of millennial thinking.

Project fields:
East Asian History; East Asian Studies; Nonwestern Religion

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2015 – 8/31/2015